Schools show improvement in ACT scores

Published 8:37 pm Thursday, September 1, 2016

High school students in Beaufort County showed mostly improvement in the latest round of ACT scores.

The ACT, or American College Testing, program is a standardized test designed to assess students academically before entering college. Eleventh-graders are typically the age demographic targeted for taking the exam, and the most recent scores released report the scores of the previous year’s graduating class.

The latest scores from the 2015-2016 school year are as follows: Beaufort County Early College High School, 89; Northside High School, 67; Southside High School, 38; Washington High School, 53.

School scores are reported as percentages of students who met a state-compiled proficiency standard.

The Early College’s score went down compared to its 2014-2015 score, which was greater than 95 — although it remains the highest in the county. Northside, Southside and Washington all saw some improvement from the previous year, which reported scores of 51, 33 and 49, respectively.

“What we try to look at are patterns,” said Dr. Don Phipps, Beaufort County Schools superintendent. “To me, the most important thing that we should be (focused on) is growth.”

Phipps said that ACT scores are a good indicator, but they are just one piece of the puzzle that reflects how a school is operating.

“There’s a much brighter light on a test score than there is on other things,” he said. “In every school it’s different. … It’s more than just saying, ‘We’ve got this score.’”

Phipps said the district has discussed holding ACT prep classes for students, and school officials are always working with principals and curriculum personnel to hone in on a school’s particular needs.

“Those are the things that we look at. In some areas, we do better than others,” he said. “Across the board, we want to figure out what we can do to continually improve.”

“Lots and lots and lots of pieces that go into the puzzle.”